R Ashwin’s Kings XI Punjab to rock and roll in IPL 11
New Delhi: This is the re-birth of Kings XI Punjab. The new Punjab with the brand new skipper Ravichandran Ashwin would look to turn the things around for the side after failing to live-up to the conditions in the previous seasons.
This time, the side is loaded with some highly-rated names in the form of Yuvraj Singh, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Ashwin and many more.
The Punjab-based franchise managed to reach the top four only on a couple of occasions. They finished third in the inaugural edition of IPL in 2008 and then came agonisingly close to winning the title in 2014 but were denied by Kolkata Knight Riders.
In the previous edition, they missed the play-offs by a whisker to eventually finish at the fifth spot.
Ahead of the 2018 player auction, the Mohali-based side made its strategy quite clear of revamping a faltering team, by retaining only left-arm spinner Axar Patel.
They however, used their right-to-match cards at the auction to keep some of their best players from the previous season in Australian Marcus Stoinis, South African David Miller and India discard Mohit Sharma.
Also read: Gambhir-less Kolkata Knight Riders eyes to hit bull’s eye in IPL 11
Besides roping in a new captain, the franchise invested heavily on hiring India opener Lokesh Rahul at a whopping Rs 11 crore along with Australian T20 specialists Andrew Tye and Aaron Finch.
In terms of experience, the Kings XI squad can boast of the likes of West Indian power-hitter Chris Gayle and veteran Yuvraj Singh, who were both bought at their base prices of Rs 2 crore each.
Punjab also has a solid middle-order with some proven Indian talent in their side. Domestic heavyweights Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair and Manoj Tiwary will likely to add depth to the Kings batting unit.
With Rahul doubling up as the wicketkeeper, Punjab's all-round options will be shouldered mainly by Marcus Stoinis, Yuvraj and Axar. Youngsters Mayank Dagar and Manzoor Dar can also be handy options with both the bat and ball.
However, Punjab's bowling looks frail on paper despite being led by off-spinner Ashwin. With Axar in company, Afghanistan's Mujeeb Zadran may have to wait for his opportunity.
Punjab's major cause of worry is the lack of big names in the pace department barring Tye. With young Ankit Rajpoot, the domestic duo of Mohit Sharma and Barinder Sran will have a chance to use this season as a platform to get back in the national reckoning.
Squad: Ravichandran Ashwin (Captain), Axar Patel, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul (WK), Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Zadran, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar